The Colour Cycle Podcast

A podcast to challenge cultural whitewashing

The Colour Cycle podcast SEASON 3 is here!

This new season of The Colour Cycle is centred around “Concrete Strategies for Racial Equity.”

We cover a huge breadth of content: the impacts of Covid-19 on artists, global anti-racism movements such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate, the necessity of diversity standards, the power of Indigenous music in retaining language, and the importance of allyship and leadership networks. The season also features a series of conversations with UK creative industry thought-leaders, in partnership with British Council Australia. 

Featuring: Writer/ broadcaster Benjamin Law; Executive Director, Creative Diversity Network UK Deborah Williams; Noongar singer/songwriter Gina Williams; Head of Inclusion, British Film Institute Jennifer Smith; artist and refugee advocate Safdar Ahmed; writer/performer Moreblessing Maturure; Senior Manager, Aboriginal Strategy and Engagement at Create NSW Peter White; Asian Australian Alliance Founder Erin Chew; local media legend Sunil Badami + MORE.

Season 3 of the Colour Cycle is available on our website below or on all good listening platforms: iTunes, SpotifyWhooshka, PatreonPocket CastsPlayerFMStitcher and Listen Notes.

The opening and closing track “You know What” was written by UK based musician Spider J. Heartfelt thanks to Information and Cultural Exchange for providing us with a recording studio. 

Support Diversity Arts on Patreon to help us continue to deliver our Colour Cycle podcast series.

The Colour Cycle – Season 3

Episode 1: How to be Anti-Racist in the Arts


Benjamin Law, Mikala Tai, Peter White and Lena Nahlous standing on stage at the Sydney Opera House
Photo credit: Prudence Upton

In 2020, Diversity Arts Australia and British Council launched the Creative Equity Toolkit (, a how-to resource that supports organisations in reaching diversity goals. This episode was filmed at the Toolkit launch at Sydney Opera House. It features conversations about the global anti-racism movements of 2020, allyship, building alliances between the culturally diverse immigrant space and First Nations movements and practical strategies for making change in the creative sector.

Panel: Peter White (Senior Manager, Aboriginal Strategy and Engagement at Create NSW), Benjamin Law (writer and broadcaster) and Mikala Tai (Head of Visual Arts, Australia Council for the Arts).

Spotlight: Writer-filmmaker Katrina Irawati Graham.

Thank you to the British Council and the Sydney Opera House, our partners on
How to be Anti-Racist in the Arts.


Episode 2: I Am Not A Virus – anti-Asian Covid racism


Image: Andrea Srisurapon, Covid Clean, photographic print, 2021; photo: courtesy the artist
Image: Andrea Srisurapon, Covid Clean

The Covid-19 pandemic saw a surge of Anti-Asian racism. In response, Diversity Arts Australia launched I Am Not A Virus, an artist-led project that provides powerful counter-narratives to xenophobia and racism. This episode spotlights interviews from Asian artists, partners and curators from the I Am Not A Virus project, along with two spoken word pieces that were commissioned as part of the project.

Featuring: Erin Wen Ai Chew (founder of Asian Australian Alliance and Being Asian Australian), artists Jacqueline Pon, Sean Stephen Ryan, Jayanto Tan, Andrea Srisurapon, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art curator Reina Takeuchi, and works by Kelly Huynh and Jasper Lee-Lindsay.


Read Asian Australian Alliance’s “COVID-19 Racism Incident Report Survey Comprehensive Report 2021” HERE.

I Am Not A Virus
received support from the Australia Council, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, City of Sydney, City of Parramatta and Inner West Council. Thank you to 4A Centre for Contemporary Art, our project partners and curators of the Acute Actions exhibition and partners Being Asian Australian, the Asian Australian Alliance and Democracy in Colour.

Episode 3: Gina Williams – Reviving and celebrating Indigenous languages through music


Cover image of Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse's album "Koorlangka"
“Koorlangka” by Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse

What is the power of language? How does the language we speak inform artistic practice? What do you do when the State has historically attempted to erase that language? Our special guest this episode is singer-songwriter and British Council ACCELERATE alumni Gina Williams, who creates contemporary music in her Indigenous Noongar language with her musical partner Guy Ghouse. Gina talks about the power of music to celebrate culture and pass it down to future generations.

Support Gina and buy her albums HERE

Learn more about British Council Australia HERE


Episode 4: Global Conversations – giving audiences the screen and stage diversity they want


The past two years have seen worldwide changes in the ways we talk about racial and cultural representation. Contemporary audiences are increasingly seeking out and demanding greater diversity in our screen and performing arts sectors.

Sunil Badami sitting next to CEO of the Creativity Diversity Network Deborah WilliamsWriter/broadcaster Sunil Badami talks to CEO of Creative Diversity Network (UK) Deborah Williams about how things are shifting globally. As the former Diversity Manager at the British Film Institute (BFI), Deborah designed the diversity standards for film and broadcasting in the UK and has a wealth of insight when it comes to the creative sector.

We also speak to Refugee Art Project’s Safdar Ahmed about the impacts of Covid 19 on his artistic practice and the communities he works with.

Thank you to the British Council, Creative Victoria, Screen Australia, Belvoir Street Theatre and The Wheeler Centre for hosting and supporting Deborah’s visit to Australia in 2019.

Episode 5: Cultural Markers and Visibility in the arts – a UK/Australia conversation


INTERSECT participants Mikala Tai and Abdul Shayek smiling
Image credit: Anna Hay

Diversity Arts Australia and British Council joined forces to run INTERSECT, a knowledge-exchange program between Australia and the UK which connected culturally diverse and First Nations arts and screen leaders from both countries. This episode we talk to INTERSECT participants about how they “put down cultural markers” in their respective sectors to affect long-term change, making diversity a vital part of core business rather than just a “side dish.”

Featuring: INTERSECT participants Abdul Shayek (Theatre Director and Artistic Director of FIO), Nike Jonah (Executive Director of the Pan-African Creative Exchange) and Mikala Tai (former Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art).

Spotlight: Sydney-based artist Ayebatonye 

The INTERSECT program is a joint program between the British Council and Diversity Arts Australia with support from Creative Victoria and Create NSW. Alison Tanudisastro’s interview with Ayebatonye was recorded at a We Are The Mainstream event. Thank you to all our partners!

Episode 6: Screen Targets and Standards – do they work?


Lena Nahlous holding a microphone up to Jennifer Smith, Head of Inclusion at British Film Institute (BFI)

Can we increase cultural diversity on and behind our screens through official diversity standards? How necessary and effective are standards and targets? Lena Nahlous explores these questions by speaking to the Head of Inclusion at the British Film Institute (BFI) Jennifer Smith and Australian filmmaker Pearl Tan, a participant in British Council’s INTERSECT program.

Spotlight: writer and co-founder of The Pvblication Lamisa Haque


Episode 7: The Importance of Physical Spaces to Create and Connect


Elyas Alavi in his painting studio
Elyas Alavi in his painting studio

The creation of physical spaces — theatres, film companies and galleries — is integral to showcasing the work of culturally diverse artists and true pluralism of Australia. This episode explores the need for these spaces, with a particular focus on a diverse creative hub in Adelaide called Nexus Arts. We also ask: what happens when a global pandemic shuts down these critical centres for creation and connection?

Featuring: Refugee Art Project’s Zeinab (Sara) Mir, the Diverse Screens panel discussion at Adelaide Fringe Festival, poet and painter Elyas Alavi, and emerging artist Yusuf Ali Hayat.

Learn more about Nexus Arts HERE. Thank you to Liverpool and Fairfield City Councils who provided additional support for Diverse Screens.

Episode 8: Overcoming the Imaginings of Others


Moreblessing Maturure at Future Women

Lena Nahlous talks to multidisciplinary artist, activist, Ted x speaker and creative director of FOLK magazine Moreblessing Maturure about fighting erasure, the importance of having spaces to experiment and create, and the need for critics of colour.

Spotlight: singer-songwriter and performer Zaya Barroso.

Thank you to the Future Women, the City of Parramatta and Parramatta Artist Studios for hosting the talk! Alison Tanudisastro’s interview with Zaya was recorded at a We Are The Mainstream event.


It’s here! The Colour Cycle podcast SEASON 2!

The Colour Cycle Podcast is packed with important ideas, strategies and insights from leading thinkers in the arts. If you’re committed to equity in the creative sectors, then you don’t want to miss this. This season features a special recording of Fair Play season live at the Diversity Arts Symposium, Wheeler Centre in Melbourne.

We’re sharing these thought-provoking and courageous conversations far and wide. Conversations and experiences from First Nations trail blazers Genevieve Grieves and Tony Briggs, international guests like Deborah Williams from the UK’s Creative Diversity Network, Disability leader, artist Caroline Bowditch, Aseel Tayah, Paula Abood, and many more.

Listen to the Season 2 trailer and The Fair Play Season 2 episodes kicking off with Episode 1: First Peoples First on our website below or on all good listening platforms – iTunes, SpotifyWhooshka, PatreonPocket CastsPlayerFMStitcher and Listen Notes.

Legendary hip-hop and soul artist MC Trey composed our title track.

Support Diversity Arts on Patreon to help us continue to deliver our Colour Cycle podcast series.


The Colour Cycle – Season 2

Episode 1: First Peoples First


First People’s First, how do cultural organisations, institutions and arts practitioners put this principle into practice in ways that move beyond tokenism? This is one of the critical issues unpacked in depth by Genevieve Grieves.

Genevieve is a Worimi woman from southeast Australia based in Naarm, sometimes known as Melbourne. She’s an award-winning artist, curator and the Manager, Transformation Strategies in the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria. This is her keynote address from the Fair Play Symposium, two days of talks and performances put on by Diversity Arts Australia at The Wheeler Centre.

Thanks to all of our Fair Play symposium partners: co-presenter The Wheeler Centre, core funder Creative Victoria, sponsors Ai-Media, British Council, Screen Australia.

Koorie Heritage Trust Inc, Arts Access Victoria, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Arts Front, Feral Arts, Regional Arts Victoria, Abbotsford Convent, Footscray Community Arts Centre.


Episode 2: Towards Creative Sector Self-Determination


Has representation become a buzzword? The representation box is often ticked when “People of Colour”, “First Nations” people and “People With Disability” are ‘invited into’ the conversation for a moment.

But how can we create real systemic change? Tune in to the panel: Towards Creative Sector Self-Determination from our Fair Play symposium at the Wheeler Centre.

Panelists: Eugenia Flynn (Participating Chair + Fair Play Creative Producer), Fiona Tuomy (Artistic Director, The Other Film Festival), Tania Canas (Performer, lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts, RISE Refugee member) and Jason Tamiru (Proud Yorta Yorta man, Associate Producer, Malthouse Theatre).


Episode 3: Diversifying Screen and Stage – Deborah Williams


Tune in to Diversifying Screen and Stage with Deborah Williams, artist and CEO of the Creative Diversity Network (CDN) in conversation with performer, teacher and CEO of Arts Access Victoria​ Caroline Bowditch at The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas​ for Diversity Arts’ Fair Play season.

Deborah Williams tackles assumptions about gender, race, disability and class through screen and stage work in this week’s episode of The Colour Cycle.


Episode 4: State of Play – Equity and Inclusive Practices

 So what is the status quo in terms of access and inclusion in Australia’s creative sector for people from First Nations backgrounds, People with Disability and culturally and linguistically diverse or migrant communities? How do you dismantle existing systems and structures of power? These are just some of the issues tackled by this panel on the ‘State of Play – Equity and Inclusive Practices’ in this week’s episode of The Colour Cycle.

Featuring panelists: Veronica Pardo (Participating Chair, CEO – Multicultural Arts Victoria), Tony Briggs (Acclaimed actor, writer, producer – Cleverman, The Sapphires), Michael Williams (Director – Wheeler Centre), Leah Jing McIntosh (Founder and editor-in-chief – Liminal), Bali Padda (Industry Development Executive – Screen Australia) and Kath Duncan (Researcher, producer, co-founder – Quippings deaf and disabled queer dance troupe).


Episode 5: The Diversity Monologues

After years of talking about diversity in the arts sector, it’s starting to feel like a monologue that only reaches an audience of our own communities, say Dr Paula Abood and Aseel Taya, a Palestinian creative director and installation artist. Aseel says when applying for arts funding, the process is not tolerant of people from migrant backgrounds and even less accommodating for those pitching art that is deemed not “relevant” for Australian audiences.

Dr Paula Abood is a writer, creative producer and educator, and a leading figure in the space for 30 years. She’s calling for the entire funding regime to be restructured because currently the major organisations take the bulk of the money while the small-to-medium sector, where diversity flourishes, is left with the crumbs.

Tune into this week’s Fair Play episode of The Colour Cycle Podcast:


Episode 6: Take it from the Top

In the creative sector, the most visible marker of power can be seen by who occupies positions of leadership, who is on the boards, who judges the awards and runs the company? Who hires? Who dispenses funds? Who signs off on the program or decides what work gets made? Tune in to the “Take it from the Top” panel at the Fair Play Symposium in Melbourne – hosted by Diversity Arts Australia.

Panelists include: Jodie Sizer (Co-CEO – Price Waterhouse Coopers Indigenous Consulting); Jeremy Smith (former Director  -Community, Emerging & Experimental Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts); Koraly Dimitriadis (Cypriot-Australian poet, writer, actor & performer); Jane Crawley (Director – Arts Investment, Creative Victoria); Michael William (former Director – The Wheeler Centre); Katrina Segdewick (CEO – the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and Professor James Arvanitakis (former Chair – Diversity Arts Australia & pro Vice Chancellor – Western Sydney University).


Episode 7: Building Aboriginal Cultural Competency

Diversity and inclusion employment practices are often focused on recruitment, but not on retention. Promoting cultural competency in the creative sector is a step towards creating safe spaces that foster and encourage equity. In his keynote at the Fair Play symposium, Rob Hyatt from the Koorie Heritage Trust talks about the importance of identity in workplaces, and specifically addresses the arts sector in his keynote about cultural safety and inclusion.

Rob Hyatt is an Aboriginal man with ties to the Lake Tyers community and the Wotjobaluk in Western Victoria. He is the education manager of the Koorie Heritage Trust and works to foster an understanding of contemporary Aboriginal communities through an awareness of the past.

Rob explains the importance of identity and connection to Aboriginality through heart and mind.

Episode 8: Learning from Frida

In 2014, Caroline Bowditch premiered a dance theatre performance called “Falling in Love with Frida” with both disabled and non-disabled performers, and sign language interpretation embedded at its centre, the award-winning and critically acclaimed piece was shown 93 times to sold-out audiences across the UK and internationally.

In this keynote address, Executive Director of Arts Access Victoria Caroline Bowditch performs a monologue from this piece and then talks about her obsession with Frida Kahlo. She also talks about why it’s important to reclaim Frida Kahlo as a disabled artist, and why her work doesn’t focus on accepted mainstream conventions.





Episode 9: Learning from each other

Genuine diverse leadership has the potential for the audiences who are engaging with culture to see themselves, their narratives and histories, reflected in what they see and experience. This panel discussion includes arts leaders from the UK and Australia who participated in the inaugural year of the INTERSECT program.

INTERSECT is a joint British Council and Diversity Arts Australia knowledge exchange that aims to strengthen international collaboration and connections between diverse and indigenous arts leaders in both countries.

Featured panelists: Anna Hay (Participating Chair – British Council Australia), Adelaide Bannerman, Candy Bowers (Black Honey Company), Jacob Boehme (Yirramboi Festival), Mikala Tai (4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art), Abdul Shayek (Fio), Natalie Ibu (Tiata fahodzi).


Episode 10: The politics of intersectionality

Intersectionality can mean different things for different people and can be applied across a range of settings and in different ways it enables us to understand identity as a complex multi-dimensional category but it can also be an approach to the way we move and work in the world.

And as a practice it provides a foundation for working critically, sensitively and with nuance in the arts.

This panel: Eugenia Flynn, Creative Producer of the Fair Play Symposium; Azizeh Astaneh, a visual artist, graphic designer and founding president of Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers; Dominic Golding, an artist and a community worker who has worked with refugees, migrants, and people with disability; Peter Waples Crowe, a Ngarigo queer visual and performing artist, and Aboriginal Health worker; and Jax Jacki Brown, disability and LGBTIQ+ rights activist and Publishability Project Officer at Writers Victoria.

Our final episode for Season 2 is here! Keep an eye on our social media for Season 3 news in the future.

Introducing the Colour Cycle


The Colour Cycle aims to disrupt cultural whitewashing and examines whether Australia’s Arts and Cultural sector looks like Australia. Join the conversation on your socials with #TheColourCycle.

Listen to a short Intro:



The Colour Cycle – Season 1

Episode 1: Creating new reflections


What does it feel like to grow up without seeing yourself reflected on TV? Screenwriter Benjamin Law describes this exclusion as ‘quietly dehumanising’ and a form of ‘structural racism’.

He talks about his comedy series The Family Law changing the face of our TV screens – about casting the predominantly Asian-Australian characters, why quotas work and creating new opportunities and new reflections for writers of colour in Australia.

Listen now to Episode 1:


Episode 2: Making spaces for refugee artists


We talk a lot about the challenges for artists of colour to break into the arts sector and the pervasive stereotypes they face. But what if you’re also trying to manage the added difficulties of language barriers, work and trauma as a recently arrived refugee to Australia? Meet the extraordinary Carolina Triana who has created huge opportunities for artists from refugee backgrounds by establishing the New Beginnings Festival.

Listen now to Episode 2:



Episode 3: Art and Identity politics: What is the Australian voice?

Sunil Badami speaks at Beyond Tick Boxes

The great Australian author David Malouf is never referred to as the Great-Lebanese-Gay-Australian author. So do non-Anglo artists always have to represent the cultural identity of their parents or their birthplace?

Author and TV and radio host Sunil Badami talks about identity politics, and asks, what is the Australian voice and who does it belong to?


Listen now to episode 3:



Episode 4: Making art in exile

We know that people are moving around the world and fleeing persecution, fleeing environmental disaster at a rate that has never before happened in history. Damon Amb was unable to practice his craft in his home country for fear of persecution. He speaks about his journey as a refugee and how he is now working to rebuild his life and re-establish his artistic practice in a new country.


Listen now to episode 4:


Episode 5: Changing the narrative

Zainab Syed is a performance poet from Pakistan, she wears a headscarf so people assume she’s a refugee or has suffered hardship and that her work should reflect this. But her story is one of privilege. How do you change the stereotypes or assumptions made about artists of colour?

We also meet Kevin Bathman whose work about the inter-marriages of Indian and Chinese couples in south-east Asia doesn’t fit easily into most boxes.


Listen now to episode 5:


Episode 6: The Diversity of Australia’s First Peoples

This ancient continent has been populated by diverse groups of people and artists from over 500 language groups and nations. But too often Australia’s indigenous artists are relegated into one box to tick. In this episode, we talk to two important indigenous artists, Lily Shearer and Colin Kinchella about what we can learn from the diversity of Australia’s first peoples.



Listen now to episode 6:


Bonus Episode: Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane

In our first bonus episode we bring you a live recording of the speech from Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommosane, the Beyond Tick Boxes Symposium. It was so good we just had to share it with you. He challenges Australians to think about cultural diversity as more than just going out for souvlaki, dim suns or pho. Dr Soutphommosane also poses the question: is creative expression is a human right?




Listen now:


Bonus Episode: Are we there yet?

Over this podcast series we’ve heard lot’s of strategies for increasing cultural diversity in the arts and on our screens – so are we there yet? Well we’re on our way but still have a long way to go according to a panel discussion which Diversity Arts Australia hosted at the Performing Arts Connections Australia conference (Australia’s peak performing arts body for theatre, dance and performing arts). The panel included some Colour Cycle alumni; Sunil Badami, Benjamin Law, Zainab Syed, Maria Tran and Jackie Bailey.


Listen now:



Bonus Episode: Where are the teeth? Arts leadership

We often talk about the need for quotas to compel arts organisations to include more diversity in their programming. When Create NSW’s Screen division introduced a 50:50 quota for gender they significantly increased the participation of female directors, writers and producers within a very short period of time. So could quotas work to create a more culturally diverse arts sector?

This was a hot topic at the Beyond Tick Boxes symposium in 2017 with an animated panel discussion that we recorded live and nicknamed “Where are the teeth?”

Listen now:



“We want our podcast to open up the conversation about why our arts and screens don’t reflect Australia’s real cultural diversity. We’re also showcasing some brilliant artists and creative workers along the way.”

Lena Nahlous

Growing up without seeing yourself reflected back in your nation’s stories is a quietly dehumanising thing.”

Benjamin Law

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